Mesdames on the Move October

The Mesdames of Mayhem at Word on the Street

Sunday, September 25th was a glorious fall day in Toronto and at Harbourfront the city’s book lovers were out to meet their favourite authors and celebrate literacy at Word on the Street. Mesdames of Mayhem had our own booth for the first time, WB12 in Writers’ Block. Eight of us spent the day there, talking to the crowds and, yes, selling books! Most of the Mesdames are members of the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime –their booth was right next to ours– and Crime Writers of Canada and we also signed books at those booths. The photos tell the story of what a good time we had.

img_0852

Lynne Murphy, Sylvia Warsh, Catherine Astolfo

wots-3a

“Mesdames-ing” the booth Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Cathy Dunphy, Sylvia Warsh

wots-2a

M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_0854

M. H. Callway, Catherine Astolfo

NEW BOOKS!!

BIG NEWS COMING LATER IN OCTOBER FROM THE MESDAMES. Visit our website next week for the reveal!

October is Mme Lisa de Nikolits’s month!

51nexm-TziL__SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Mme. Lisa de Nikolits’ new novel, The Nearly Girlpublished by Inanna, was one of the best sellers at Word on the Street on Sunday.

The book will be launched Thursday, October 13th at 6:00 p.m. at the Women’s Arts Association, 63 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto. There will be readings, wine and cheese, and, according to Lisa, badges. Who could resist that?

The novel has already gained good reviews in Beach Metro News and Canadian Living magazine.  Mme. Lisa will be touring the Maritimes in early October–for dates and places check out our September Mesdames on the Move.

 

Carrick Publishing is bringing out three crime books by Mesdames Rosemary Aubert, Donna Carrick and M. H. Callway this fall, print and cyber launch dates to be announced later in October on this website!

14440753_10155212647389018_7380819742979000369_n14424815_10155212645404018_9205120793088655572_oglowgrass

 

EVENTS AND READINGS!

D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

By popular demand, the Mesdames of Mayhem have been invited back to the Mt. Pleasant Branch, TPL as part of the International Authors Festival, Tuesday, October 18th, 7 pm at 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto.  The Mesdames reading will be: M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and D.J. McIntosh.

 

 

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Mme Rosemary Aubert has two events this month. On Sat, October 8th, 9 am to 12 noon, visit her at the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, Durham College, Centre for Food Building, Thickston Rd and 401, Whitby ON.

On Tuesday, October 25th, 2 pm, she will be reading with the Crime Writers of Canada at the Eatonville Branch, TPL, 43o Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.

 

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

Mme M. H. Callway will be giving her workshop on How to Get Published at the Eatonville Branch, TPL on Wed, October 5th at 6:30 pm.  Address: 430 Burnhamthorpe Rd, Scarborough, ON.

 

 

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

On Friday, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. Mme Lisa de Nikolits will be reading from her new book, The Nearly Girl, at Knox Presbyterian Church, 59 Riddell St., Woodstock, ON. The evening is part of the International Festival of Authors.

 

 

 

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

 Mme. Rosemary McCracken’s  newest Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, was a popular selection at our WOTS booth!

Rosemary will be in Minden, Ont. on Sat. October 15th to conduct a workshop on Structuring Your Novel. The workshop is sponsored by Haliburton Highlands Writers and Editors Network and will be held from 10:30 to 3:00 in the Minden Cultural Centre in Minden, ON.

 

MORE NEWS!

Joan O'Callaghan

Joan O’Callaghan

61bgefae0xl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-v3-bigtopright0-55_sx324_sy324_pikin4bottomright122_aa346_sh20_ou15_Mme Joan O’Callaghan has updated her book, Amazing Days This gives teachers factoids and classroom activities for different days of the calendar year. Already available in e-book format courtesy of Carrick Publishing, it’s coming out this fall in Print Edition. Watch for this terrific resource, in October.

 

 

Bony Blithe Award

Mme. Cheryl Freedman reminds us that the Bony Blithe competition for light hearted mysteries is now accepting entries. Check out the Bony Blithe website here for contest rules.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MEET THE MESDAMES at WORD ON THE STREET!

The fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm. We love meeting readers. …

Source: MEET THE MESDAMES at WORD ON THE STREET!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MEET THE MESDAMES at WORD ON THE STREET!

Toronto-Logo-PNG-optThe fabulous MESDAMES OF MAYHEM have their own booth, W12, in Writers Block at Harbourfront! WORD ON THE STREET takes place this Sunday, September 25th from 11 am to 6 pm.

wots-program-map-08_17_2016-1024x868

We love meeting readers. Do join us for a chat about crime fiction and a chance to buy our books!

13 O'Clock Launch Website1

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mesdames of Mercy Part 4

What We Do in the Sunlight:

This is the fourth in our series about the volunteer work the Mesdames of Mayhem do when they aren’t thinking up ways to murder people. This month we feature Mesdames Jane Burfield and Lynne Murphy.

From Mme. Jane Burfield:

mesdames-jane-burfield2-icon SquareVolunteering has always been an important part of my life. I started at age six, cleaning soldiers’ ashtrays at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Progressing up through sandwich making to whirring milkshake machines made me feel very mature at eight. I have enjoyed volunteer work all my life, but none more than helping in the last few years to test dogs for Therapeutic Paws of Canada.

Therapeutic Paws is a remarkable program. Their tested and approved teams of dog or cat and owner visit facilities where they bring smiles to hospital and retirement residents.  Some animals are further tested to qualify to visit children. The team even goes in to schools and universities to reduce stress during exams.

Testing is an interesting process. We actually test the owner as much as the animal.  The dog has to show willingness to obey commands from its owner, an ability to withstand loud sounds, strange situations and crowds, and have a gentle manner when interacting with people.

The therapy animals bring comfort and happiness to many clients in stressful situations. Please link to the Therapeutic Paws website at tpoc.ca to read more about their programs, to volunteer and to support their services.

Volunteering as a young child drove my interest in people which led to my enjoyment of developing interesting characters in my writing. The time you give is time well spent.

Mme. Burfield’s short stories appear in numerous anthologies including “Thirteen” and “Thirteen o’clock”.

From Mme. Lynne Murphy:

lynneFor more than twenty years the osteoporosis exercise classes at West Scarborough Community Centre have hosted Bone China Teas to raise funds and increase awareness of osteoporosis. I began working for the tea under the direction of our leader, Doris Spencer. When Doris found it was getting to be a bit much for her, my friend Pam and I volunteered to help. It worked out well as Pam ran the kitchen very capably and I was in charge of the entertainment side.

At first the teas were just nice events where we dressed up a bit and sat around and gossiped. Then we decided  there should be a theme–we started with a crazy hat competition and went on from there. One year we saluted the Roaring Twenties, with everyone in costume and Doris teaching the Charleston. Another tea honoured Will and Kate’s wedding with fabulous hats. My daughter made a fascinator out of two tub scrubbers and a spray of sequins. For the Queen’s Jubilee we had our local MP as special guest. He brought souvenir pins for all the ladies attending.

We also have a quiz in line with the theme of the tea. The guests at each table work on the quiz together and this gets conversation going.  And  everyone at the table with the most right answers gets a prize. The year of the royal wedding one question was “Which member of the Royal family is a patron of the Osteoporosis Society in Britain?” (If you don’t know, see answer below.)

Everything is donated–food, door prizes, raffle prizes–so that every dollar earned goes to Osteoporosis Canada. This month, our group is to be honoured at a meeting of that organization for our contributions over the years. Something for a small group of women to be proud of.

Mme. Murphy’s short stories are in a number of anthologies, including “Thirteen” and “Thirteen o’clock.”

Editor’s note: During the past few months, the Mesdames have written about their volunteer activities in the community. These have included working with agencies that benefit animals– Therapeutic Paws, the Humane Society,  and  Dachshund Rescue. Some of us help raise funds to benefit  research  into cancer or osteoporosis. Some work with social agencies like Out of the Cold, or St. Vincent de Paul. Then there is work with libraries, literacy  councils and community groups, where our writing and editing experience is especially valuable. One wonders, how many lives have we touched during the year?

 The answer to the quiz question is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mesdames on the Move: September!

Mesdames at Word on the Street–Sunday, Sept 25th!

Toronto-Logo-PNG-opt

September brings the most important day in Toronto’s literary year —Word on the Street. This year at Harbourfront,   we Mesdames of Mayhem will have our own booth at the event for the first time. Eight of us will be there throughout the day to introduce ourselves, chat with our fans and, of course, to sell our books.

Be sure to drop by the Mesdames Booth W11 in Writers Block anytime between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Several Mesdames will be guesting at Sisters in Crime (Booth W12). We are neighbours in Writers Block – so readers can meet and mingle with many Canadian women crime writers. Many of us will also be helping out at the Crime Writers of Canada booth in Genre Zone, Booth 541.

Mme. Lisa De Nikolits will be on the panel, Mysteries and Maple Leaves with authors, Steven Burrows and Dietrich Kalteis,  to talk about Canadian mystery and horror writing at 12:15 pm .

For information on getting to Word on the Street, parking, events,  etc. go to the website here.

Readings and Conferences!

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Mme. Sylvia Maultash Warsh will be taking part in the first Read Local Event to be held in Midland.  The event showcases writing talent in the Georgian Bay area.  Sylvia will be reading from her historical novel, The Queen of Unforgetting, on Saturday, September 10th at 1:20pm. 41Guqsy+9LL__SX337_BO1,204,203,200_

The settings are deliberately unusual. Sylvia will be reading at Tripp’s Paint Shoppe, 259 King St, Midland.

The Queen of Unforgetting, was honoured with a plaque from Project Bookmark Canada, located in Little Lake Park, Midland.

 

 

 

13691022_1037066316329967_109448594662198952_o

 

fa6971_4fed8d516f05422f95163e5b57df54c3

Mme M. H. Callway is attending this year’s Bouchercon in New Orleans from September 15 to 18th. She’ll be joining fellow Canadian Crime Writers, Cathy Ace and Rob Brunet and reconnecting with many American authors and friends.

The popularity of New Orleans has drawn a huge crowd of authors from around the world. Mme Mad will be reporting back on her conference experiences – some of them may be haunting!

 

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

Mme. Lisa De Nikolits is going on tour in the Maritimes with her new book,   The Nearly Girl. 

If you have friends or relatives in the Maritimes they will have a  chance to meet Lisa and purchase her newest book, The Nearly Girl.  The tour starts Sept. 29th and continues to October 8th.

ldenikolits-tour-poster2

Announcements!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

Mme. Cheryl Freedman reminds all light mystery authors:

COMING SOON…

Call for submissions for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award

 

Do you have a light mystery published in 2016? Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

If you do and are, send us the contact info for your publisher (publisher name, contact person, email address) to bw-award@bloodywords.com. If your book is self-published, send us your name and email address.

Note: We do have a list of publishers from last year, but it’s probably woefully out of date and incomplete (the nature of the publishing beast), and we’d hate to leave out any book that might be eligible for the award.

A light mystery can be a cozy, a caper, a humorous mystery, essentially a feel-good book that makes the reader smile. The book must be at least 60,000 words. No noir or YA please.

We will be sending out the submission rules for the 2017 contest the week of Sept 4. The rules will also be posted on our Website www.bonyblithe.com. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bonyblithe/

The Bony Blithe Award will be presented in late May or early June 2017 at the Bony Blithe mini-conference in Toronto. The award consists of a charming plaque and a cheque for $1000 (now there’s something to smile about J).

For more info about the contest and whether your book is eligible, email us at bw-award@bloodywords.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mesdames on the Move – Update for August

Editor, Mme Lynne Murphy, is on holiday from August 3 to 17th. She will be back with more news after Aug 18th.

13 O'Clock Launch Website1

On August 17th, 6:30 to 8 pm, the Mesdames of Mayhem are guests at Authors Night at Albert Campbell Branch, TPL, 496 Birchmount Road, Scarborough. The event brings together local authors and readers to mingle, exchange ideas and to learn about new books from established authors.

Seven Mesdames will be reading: Mmes Rosemary Aubert, M. H. Callway, Lisa DeNikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Jane Petersen Burfield and Sylvia Warsh. (Hence our group photo!)

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

This is Mme Rosemary McCracken’s summer! She was interviewed on Canoe 100.9 FM, the radio station in Raven Lake cottage country. Her interview airs on Wed Aug 17th at 6 pm and again on Friday, Aug 19th at 11 am.  If you miss these times, you can also listen to her full interview on the internet via this link.

51IDJYt589L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Rosemary’s latest book, Raven Lake, also received a great review from Jack Batten of the Toronto Star. Read Jack’s full review here.

And she was interviewed by the Minden Times, a Haliburton newspaper. Local readers may recognize some of the landmarks in Raven Lake though they don’t quite match up, having been transformed to serve the latest Pat Tierney mystery. Read Rosemary’s interview here.

More good news on the book front! New books by several Mesdames are launching this fall.  Mme Rosemary Aubert is releasing a collection of her short crime fiction under the title, The Midnight Boat to Palermo.  Mme M. H. Callway’s book,  Glow Grass, brings together her published short fiction, including two novellas. Both books are published by Carrick Publishing.

And our amazingly productive Mme Lisa DeNikolits launches her sixth novel, The Nearly Girl. (Inanna Publications)

Full details of all our launches and upcoming fall appearances will be in our September and October Mesdames on the Move newsletters.

And looking far ahead:  Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest book in her hilarious Goddaughter series, The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It launches in February, 2017.

510uShlBSCL__SX326_BO1,204,203,200_51nexm-TziL__SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LIMESTONE EXPO: A Fab Cross Genre Conference

 Mme M. H. Callway attended Limestone Expo held in Kingston ON, July 23 to 24th.  This is the conference’s second year.

Here we reproduce her blog on the conference:

NEWS: Limestone Expo – Fab Cross Genre Con

RN_4w1BL_400x400

Limestone Genre Expo, a 2-day conference for authors and fans of genre lit,  took place in Kingston, Ontario July 23-24th.  Organizers, Liz Strange, Delina MacDonald and Marlene Smith created the conference in 2015 to support Eastern Ontario writers of fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, YA and crime fiction.

Science fiction, fantasy, graphic and horror authors have intermingled for years at conferences like Comiccon, Fan Expo and When Words Collide.  Crime fiction is a relative new-comer to these events, but likely to become more popular in the intensifying search for readers and with the retirement of Canada’s late great national crime writing conference, Bloody Words.

13691022_1037066316329967_109448594662198952_o

Mme Mad with Windigo Fire

This was my first cross genre conference. Starting with a local conference proved to be both comfortable and enriching.  Several  of my crime writer friends were attending: among them Rob Brunet,  Vicki Delany, Madonna Skaff and Linda Wiken. And I have a deep affection for Kingston. I studied Chemistry at Queen’s University back when T. rex ruled the earth and OHIP was the major client of my IT consulting business.  Ed and I made a weekend of it, staying at the wonderful Rosemount Inn, a Victorian mansion which looks haunted and reputedly is.

13723881_1037065696330029_6470841048669506124_o

Ira Nayman

My table mate in the vendor’s room was Ira Nayman,  political satirist, science fictioneer and aardvark lover. Ira generously helped me set up my book display and we had great conversations about life, the universe and everything when the author panels were running.

Brian Lindsay

Brian Lindsay

In the vendor’s room, I met Brian Lindsay, fellow crime writer and Arthur Ellis finalist for Best First Novel.  Brian is an imagist, chef and indie author of the Gilmore Island mysteries, set on an island near Westport, Ontario. Old Bones, which I’m enjoying now, is his first novel.

I also enjoyed meeting crime writer, poet, musician and reviewer, Bob Mackenzie.

The conference was a well- thought-out mix of panels, workshops, author readings.  There was a pitch session hosted by Five Rivers Publishing and a conversation with Jay Odjick, creator and executive producer of the animated TV show, Kagagi: The Raven.

13691150_1037066552996610_2551617460205556083_o

Vicky Delany

Linda Wiken

Linda Wiken

Each genre had at least one panel specifically devoted to it. The crime fiction panel was “Modus Operandi, From Cozies to Private Eyes” , a broad topic to be sure, but a fine introduction of the genre to new readers.

Liz Strange had asked me to step in as moderator for the YA panel with authors: Y.S. Lee, Alyssa Cooper, Maureen McGowan, Kim McDougall and Suzanne Church. The facilities at the Kingston Frontenac Library were pretty good, but like many modern buildings, meeting rooms are scarce: one large upstairs space and two much smaller rooms, where you really got to know the audience!

YA is hot right now.  Virtually every literary agent is begging for it. Our audience was too large for the room and the fire marshal notwithstanding, everyone crowded in SRO. The panel graciously gave up their chairs to the audience and spent the entire hour’s discussion on their feet!

13700981_1037066052996660_23798933879772134_o

Madonna Skaff

Some observations about YA: people of all ages read it. Why? For the strong story lines, shorter book lengths and relatively uncomplicated language; in other words, a fast read.  YA many times deals with tough topics. Why? People see hard things on the media and through the internet every day. Parents can’t shield children as they once did. And the good news: Younger people are reading thanks to YA. Indeed research suggests most readers are younger than 35 or over 60!

Goth author Jen Frankel

Goth author Jen Frankel

Often, it seems that genre writers are silo-ed: crime writers mostly meet other crime writers and crime fiction readers. But conferences like Limestone Expo recognize that readers often read and love several different genres. And authors today share the same concerns. Panels were held on traditional vs. indie publishing, the portrayal of women, disability and LGBTQ2 identities.

My own panel, Monstrous Imaginings,  proved to be great fun. (The cross genre panel: Jen Frankel, Caroline Frechette, Evan May, Alyssa Cooper, Robin Riopelle and me.) The topic allowed us to freely interpret what “monsters” mean in crime fiction, romance, YA, horror, etc. We went a little wild and the audience seemed to enjoy that!

Liz Strange

Liz Strange

Liz plans to continue the conference next year.  Many thanks to Liz and the organizers for their hard work and a most enjoyable two days!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mesdames on the Move – Update for July

D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

Mme D. J. McIntosh is just back from this year’s Thriller Fest held in New York City. Dorothy’s critically acclaimed thriller, The Angel of Eden, her third in the John Madison series, was one of five finalists for the ITW Award for Best Original Paperback.

Dorothy McIntosh - The Angel of Eden COVER

Dorothy is reading this Thursday, July 21st at 7 pm at Sauble Beach Library, 27 Community Centre Drive, Sauble Beach.  If you’re on holiday in Bruce County, don’t miss her!

 

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway

Mme M. H. Callway will be one of 50 genre authors attending Limestone Genre Expo, being held July 23 and 24th, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St., Kingston, Ontario.

12000831_10154197942864018_1649104801334232488_oMadeleine will be representing the thriller genre on the panel, Monstrous Imaginings as well as guest moderating the panel on Young Adult fiction.  Several fellow CWC authors will also be on panels, reading and / or running workshops, among them Rob Brunet,  Janet Kellough, Madonna Skaff and Linda Wiken. If you are in the Kingston area, do drop by!

Donna Carrick

Donna Carrick

Mme Donna Carrick’s (and husband Alex’s) labour of love, Footprints in the Sand, Woodland Beach Memories, is a terrific success. The print run ran out at the launch on July 16th.

Donna wrote about publishing this wonderful local history book in Mesdames of Mercy earlier this summer. Check out our archives for more.

 

NEWS FLASH: At least seven Mesdames of Mayhem will be guests at Authors Night held by the Scarborough Scribblers at Albert Campbell Branch, TPL,  6:30 pm, Wed August 17th.  More details next month!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mesdames of Mercy Part 3

This month, Mme. Catherine Dunphy, shares her experiences volunteering with the Out Of The Cold program. Mme. Dunphy  was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for her biography, Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero.

Maybe it ‘s because I was embarrassed. My neighbours — some of them– fought hard and dirty to try and stop an Out Of The Cold program from starting up at the huge Tudor-style church at the end of our street. When their battle made the papers (front page and just before Christmas) we were described as a “toney” Beach neighbourhood determined to keep out twelve — count ’em — homeless people.

Ouch.

Maybe it’s because I was feeling guilty. As a Toronto Star reporter, I was the first journalist in Canada assigned to a homelessness reporting beat. My idea. My bosses and I believed that all we had to do was raise awareness — show people the hidden homeless, the aboriginal homeless, the addicted homeless, the runaway teen, battered mothers — and governments would act, all would be well and no one would ever have to sleep on a street grate again.

I had long since left the beat (which was dissolved with its mission not accomplished) when I signed on to volunteer at the Out of the Cold program at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church. Hey, with my creds, I figured they would certainly want me, But there were literally hundreds in my community who also wanted to work there and I waited until the second winter before being accepted. I figured out why after I got my assignment. I had the job of monitoring the line-up outside. The idea was that the neighbours who were still fighting the program and on the alert for any misdemeanors, would see me — one of their own — and cease and desist.  Which eventually did happen, but not because of me.

Always the lineup started hours before the doors opened at 4 pm, a fact noted by the OOTC foes who complained that the motley men were upsetting to the daycare kids or anyone on their way to the beach.  What they didn’t notice was the system  — worked out by the guys themselves. Every week, a genial, gentle homeless man named George, wearing a tuque, was first in line. Always he brought with him a wrinkled scrap of paper and a pen.  Every week, he wrote numbers down on the paper.  One to twelve.  Then to 16, 20, finally 25 — as the program grew. The men (and yes, a few, but very few women) signed up as they arrived. The paper and pen were kept in a tin can by the side of the door. They respected the system. They didn’t cheat it, didn’t scratch out a name at, say, the #3 spot, and insert their own. Didn’t pretend they’d signed in when they hadn’t.

George always stayed close to the door but a lot of the guys signed in on the scrap, then took off. They were well aware they were under neighbourhood surveillance. As long as they were back by 4 pm they had their bed.  After that,  the chances were good that someone else would fill their spot.  They were pretty motivated to come back.  The St. Aidan’s OOTC was getting very popular in the homeless circuit, becoming known as a culinary hotspot. Local businesses seemed to be in competition as to who could donate the most — and the tastiest — food. And that was just for the afternoon snacks. Every week, different groups cooked up feasts for 65, after a lot of people started coming round just for the food. Those who got a bed also got a huge hot breakfast and a packed lunch.

While waiting for all this, a surprising number ended up in the green leather chairs in the library reading the day’s newspapers. Once I saw one of “our guys” (as I called them; the official OOTC term is “guests”) reading A  History of Sugar, a book written by Elizabeth Abbott, a friend of mine. I was thrilled. So was she, when I told her.

But look, some used to go for beers — especially if the welfare cheques had come in. A few of them wouldn’t make it on time and would pound on the locked door late at night. Others returned too loud, too boozed up, too ornery to be let in. Some showed up with rolling, drugged-up eyes demanding but never getting shelter. Lots of the volunteers learned how to diffuse these situations, but there were what I call flash fights, the kind that come out of nowhere. Savage. Not that many, but it only takes one to endanger the program. Or a guest. One winter someone smashed in the window on a side door to the church. A few years ago, one fight involved the jagged edge of a bottle.  You called the cops for these.

 Not my guys.  Like George, they stayed on the church grounds most of the afternoon. We’d talk. Nothing heavy or too personal,  just stuff about the weather, the Leafs or something from the news — the way you’d chat with any neighbour. Sure, they smelled, some of them, their nails and knuckles caked in grime –and they glared at you and were furtive and often so on edge they were like a powder keg,  but they also raked and bagged leaves in the fall and cleared the sidewalks of snow and ice in winter.

 It was hard for the OOTC foes to complain then. So they pretty much stopped.

 Several years ago, we began to let the guys inside the church an hour or so early to wait for the program doors to open. They never complained — never — but there were too many days when it was simply inhuman to be out in the cold, waiting. Besides, they had proven themselves. When we started the new system of having them line up in the basement hallway where we offered them hot chocolate and biscuits, we also tried giving out numbered tickets. But they didn’t like it and, really,  we didn’t either. Their way — George’s way — was still the best. So once again they signed their names on George’s scrap of paper with George’s pen. They waited for  4 pm, when I would call their name and number so they could enter the room, two by two, register, pick up their bedding and claim their bed. No pushing, no shoving, no queue jumping. But if I called out the wrong name to a number, oh boy, did they correct me.

Two winters ago, things changed again. George was not at the head of the line. Some time between the end of the OOTC program in April and its startup in November, George had died. All of us at the St. Aidan’s OOTC were devastated. Strange but you start to count on seeing the same old faces every season.

There’s a framed picture of George in his tuque on top of the fridge in the room where the volunteers leave coats and purses. I always stop and look at it.

At him.

A really nice guy named Richard is always at the head of the line now and brings the paper and pen. He was a friend of George; he knows how to carry on.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mesdames on the Move: July and August

News and Awards

D. J. McIntosh

D. J. McIntosh

We are super-proud of Mme Dorothy McIntosh. Her  archeological thriller, The Angel of Eden, is one of the five finalists for the prestigious International Thriller Writer award for Best Paperback Original Novel.  John Madison’s latest adventure is the third in her Mesopotamian series which has been published all over the world and translated into several languages.

Dorothy McIntosh - The Angel of Eden COVER

 

The winner will be announced at this year’s ThrillerFest to be held in New York, July 5 to 9th.  Dorothy will be attending the conference and we’re crossing our fingers that her latest John Madison adventure will be the winner with many more adventures to follow!

 

Meet the Mesdames

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

On Wednesday, June 29th, 7 pm, Mme Mel Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, will be interviewing acclaimed British thriller writer, Peter James, at A Different Drummer Bookstore, 513 Locust Avenue, Burlington.

Peter%20James%20Different%20Drummer

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

On the same evening, Wednesday, June 29th, Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken join fellow CWC authors, Sharon Crawford and Michael McPherson at the S. Walter Stewart Branch, TPL, to share with the East End Writers how to create short stories that sparkle! S. Walter Stewart Branch is located at 170 Memorial Park Ave. , Toronto.  Rosemary’s third novel, Raven Lake, was published in early June and her recent short story, “Crazy”, appeared in the noir anthology, Black Coffee.

The Mesdames were out en masse  Saturday, June 25th for the print launch of Raven Lake at Sleuth of Baker Street.  Thanks to Sleuth’s owner, Marian Misters, and to Mme. Joan O’Callaghan for her kayak cookies.

51IDJYt589L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51EWNWzdQtL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Sharon Crawford is the author of the Beyond mystery series. Michael McPherson is an award-winning crime short story author, novelist, blogger and leader in self-publishing.

 

M. H. Callway

On Thursday, July 14th,  6 pm, at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto, Mme M. H. Callway joins fellow noir authors, Rob Brunet and John McFetridge in celebrating the launch of award-winning Sam Wiebe’s new book, The Invisible Dead. All four authors will be reading from their latest works. Mme Mad will be reading from Windigo Fire.

 

61lQhbEJDeL         12000831_10154197942864018_1649104801334232488_o                       51-aSWSKWxL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51796NlIUeL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

 

On Wednesday, August 17th, 6:30 pm, several the Mesdames of Mayhem will be at the Albert Campbell Branch, TPL, for their monthly Authors Series. The Mesdames will mingle with the local writing group, the Scarborough Scribblers and mystery fans before entertaining everyone with a free-flowing discussion about Canadian crime fiction and the challenges faced by women authors. And of course, readings and refreshments!!

Join Mmes Rosemary Aubert, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Catherine Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Sylvia Maultash Warsh for this fine summer evening.

We have combined our July and August Mesdames on the Move as we expect to be less busy with outreach in August and concentrating more on cottage life, travel and our own writing. Watch for Mesdames of Mercy in mid-July when Mme. Catherine Dunphy writes about her work with the Out of the Cold program in Toronto.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment